Obama visits Gulf, confronts spill damage -- and rising anger over failure to stop gushing oil
GRAND ISLE, La. (AP) -- Kneeling to pick up tar balls on an oil-fouled beach and listening to "heartbreaking stories" of loss, President Barack Obama personally confronted the spreading damage wrought by the crude gushing into the Gulf of Mexico -- and the bitter anger that's rising onshore.
"What can he really do?" said Billy Ward, a developer who comes to his beach house here every weekend and, like many other locals, had little positive to say about Obama's trip to the beleaguered region on Friday. "If he wants to do something, let him get out there and pump some mud and cement into that hole. Just fix it. Help us."
He said he understands people "want it made right" and that their frustration won't fade until the oil is stopped and cleaned up.
"It's an assault on our shores, on our people, on the regional economy and on communities like this one," the president said from this small barrier island town threatened by what is now established as the largest oil spill in American history. "People are watching their livelihoods wash up on the beach."
Gary Coleman, child star of 1970s show "Diff'rent Strokes," dies after brain hemorrhage
PROVO, Utah (AP) -- Gary Coleman, the adorable, pint-sized child star of the smash 1970s TV sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes" who spent the rest of his life struggling on Hollywood's D-list, died Friday after suffering a brain hemorrhage. He was 42.
Coleman was taken off life support and died with family and friends at his side, Utah Valley Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Janet Frank said.
He suffered the brain hemorrhage Wednesday at his Santaquin home, 55 miles south of Salt Lake City. Frank said Coleman was hospitalized because of "an accident" at the home, but she said she had no details on what the accident was.
Coleman's family, in a statement read by his brother-in-law, Shawn Price, said "information surrounding his passing will be released shortly."
Best remembered for "Diff'rent Strokes" character Arnold Jackson and his "Whatchu talkin' 'bout?" catchphrase, Coleman chafed at his permanent association with the show but also tried to capitalize on it through reality shows and other TV appearances. His adult life was marked with legal, financial and health troubles, suicide attempts and even a 2003 run for California governor.
Obama's strategy in Afghanistan faces greatest test as US toll reaches 1,000 deaths
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- More U.S. military deaths in the last 10 months of the Afghan war than in the first five years of the conflict. More boots on the ground than in Iraq.
As the U.S. military death toll in the Afghan conflict reached the 1,000 mark, a fight that has become "Obama's war" now faces its greatest challenge -- a high-risk campaign to win over a hostile population in the Taliban's southern heartland.
More casualties are expected when the campaign kicks into high gear this summer. The results may determine the outcome of a nearly nine-year conflict that has become the focus of America's fight against Islamist militancy.
The 1,000 U.S. military death occurred in a roadside bombing Friday -- just before the Memorial Day weekend when America honors the dead in all its wars.
A NATO statement did not identify or give the nationality of the victim. U.S. spokesman Col. Wayne Shanks said the trooper was American -- the 32nd U.S. war death this month by an Associated Press count.
Justice officials initiate immigration meetings in Phoenix with Arizona AG, aides to governor
PHOENIX (AP) -- Justice Department officials told Arizona's attorney general and aides to the governor Friday that the federal government has serious reservations about the state's new immigration law.
Attorney General Terry Goddard said he urged them not to sue. "I told them we need solutions from Washington, not more lawsuits," the Democrat said.
The Justice Department initiated separate meetings by phone and face-to-face in Phoenix with Goddard and aides to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer to reach out to Arizona's leaders and elicit information from state officials regarding the Obama administration's concerns about the new law.